Why submit an impact statement?
Since our research, education and Extension work is publicly supported, we have an obligation to report a measurable difference each program makes or can potentially make.
A well-written impact statement shows public accountability, your response to an issue and collaboration. It can be a tracking system for your project, offer a brief update, show return on investment and support future funding requests.
Impact statements fulfill state and federal reporting needs.
What are the primary sections of an impact statement?
Situation: What is the issue? Who cares and why?
Response: What has been done? Summarize your program, project or response to the issue.
Results/impact: How has your response affected the users/stakeholders involved with this issue?
How can I write an effective impact statement?
- Answer the question, “So what?”
- Show a measurable change in:
- Economic value or efficiency
- Environmental quality
- Social well-being
- Health and well-being
- Estimate the potential impact
- Who are the most likely benefactors?
- When do you expect outcome and why?
- Relate anecdotes
- What works for one person may work for many
- Build in evaluation of your programs by using
- Pre- and post-tests
- Know what you want to measure: Is it a decrease in participants’ blood cholesterol or an increase in crop yield?
- Build around issues, not events: 70% of participants met their savings goals, not 34 people attended the meeting.
- Don’t exaggerate your results, don’t claim undue credit and include the negatives to present a balanced report.
- Use most of your words talking about impact and fewer words outlining your process. Impact is the most important part.
How are impact statements used?
- Use impact statements in reports to the public, funding sources, elected officials and special audiences such as media contacts or agribusiness people.
- Supplement funding requests for future projects with previous impact statements to show successful results.
- Journalists in various media outlets like the brief, to-the-point style of impact statements as well as the ability to search the database geographically, by author and by topic on the search page.
- Impact statements add specific results to quarterly and annual reports.
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